Balancing Act: The Newsletter

(No. 245, January 2020)

Balancing act is in four sections this month:

  1. Alan's Resolutions
  2. The Human Condition: Outrage
  3. Musings
Techniques For Balance

Alan's Resolutions

• I will try to understand that my wife has not hidden the TV remote control, she has just moved it from my preferred position.

• I will not scream at the television when politicians don’t answer the questions asked.

• I will no longer sustain myself through the exercises by imagining horrible, medieval torture devices applied to my trainer. (Or at least two out of every three visits.)

• I will no longer put up with someone telling me “no problem” by starting to ask, “When was there a problem?”

• I will interact more at cocktail parties by periodically saying, “How interesting,” “That’s fascinating,” and “Who would believe it?” I will resemble a Magic Eight Ball.

• I will no longer tell horrible lies to my grandchildren which might scar them for life, except when I’m taking them to dinner and the little moochers never offer to pay.

• I will stop saying “Yada, Yada” when the server wanders over and says, “Hi, I’m Lamont, and I’ll be your server tonight, though I’m really a playwright and aspiring innovator, do we have any food allergies?”

• I will stop smirking at people who put mayonnaise on pastrami, who eat bread with Chinese food, and who sniff the cork on just opened wine bottles. But this does not apply to all those people who don’t know how to use silverware and never bothered to learn. (The index finger is not, for example, part of the place setting.)

• I am going to be less judgmental, unless, of course, conditions call for judgment.

I am confident of continuing with three of these through next week.

The Human Condition


Outrage is an extreme reaction of anger or indignation. “To outrage,” the infinitive, is to arouse such emotions.

“Road rage” is a type of outrage. It is triggered, almost always, by minor acts that disproportionally anger another driver. It could be not using a directional signal, tailgating, going too slow in the high speed lane, cutting someone off. We’ve all committed these “outrages,” let’s face it, but we often become intolerant of others who do the same thing.

Ironically, more serious road problems, such as close calls averting an accident, are often accepted by other drivers with the gratitude that nothing worse happened.

Some people are in perpetual “life rage.” It was said of Admiral Earnest King, Chief of US Naval Operations during World War II, by his daughter, that he was without bias and had a constant attitude toward everyone: Extreme anger!

People are outraged when a line moves too slowly, or someone asks for directions, or the plane is late, or they feel ignored in a restaurant because it takes a few minutes to order a drink. They’re outraged when people disagree with their political choices and their causes. They are outraged at bureaucracy, at high taxes, at too much homework for their kids.

Why is there such a disproportionate reaction of anger and even shock at minor reversals and disappointments. Why are so many people leaving meetings in a huff?

I think it’s because we’re not conditioned to include ourselves in our equations of correct behavior and civility. I’ve tailgated, I’ve made abrupt turns, I’ve failed to follow instructions for self-checkout that everyone else seems to be able to follow just fine. Railing against the Department of Motor Vehicles—in any state—in an exercise in madness.

Just keep in mind that almost all anger is actually self-anger that is externalized in order to maintain one’s self-identify. Next time you’re so indignant, ask yourself what you’re really so mad about.


I heard someone say once that “time is just God’s way of making sure everything doesn’t happen at once.” I actually read Stephen Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time. I doubt many people did. I barely understood any of his concepts.

I’m fascinated by “time” because the minute it took me to write the paragraph above (and for you to read it) will never return. It’s gone, spent, exhausted, irretrievable. That’s fairly profound, wouldn’t you say?

Yet we allow time to run by us like rapids roaring downstream. People claim they “don’t have enough time.” Of course they do, 24 hours every day, and we know this! One would think, therefore, that planning how to use it would be simple.

But we aren’t all that focused or disciplined. The comedian Stephen Wright used to say, “I try to daydream, but I become distracted.”

Some people are obsessive, focused on narrow pursuits. Edison wanted to invent, barely washed, often didn’t eat, dressed in shabby clothing. Some people try to “manhandle” (“human-handle, person-handle”?) time by demanding things be done more quickly. In Walt Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs he termed this “reality distortion.” And then there are people (admittedly, I am one) who know they can get a lot more done personally through excellent organization and efficiencies. I call this “exploiting time elasticity.”

It’s one thing that a couple of minutes have now transpired as you read through this column, but it’s another if the year has disappeared. Is that far-fetched?

Well, how much did you accomplish in 2019 that you had planned? Did the book get written? Did you take all the vacations? Was the house fixed up? Did you look at a new car? How are the family relationships? Did you lose weight and attend to your health?

I’ve let entire days get away from me, but I’ve always thought for good reason. On the other hand, I’ve made superb use of 20-hour trips halfway around the globe. Well, I hope this hasn’t been a waste of your time, and you can become more productive as a result.

After all, there’s no time like the present.

Only Read This if You Know Me Well

When I read as the lector in church, I’m in the processional, recessional, and remain on the altar during the Liturgy of the Word. I was back in my seat next to my wife after finishing my assignments. The Mass was ending, and the cantor asked that we sing the final hymn. I asked my wife what page it was on.

She said, “Alan, you’re the lector, you’re supposed to retrieve the readings and line up behind the priest (who was looking for me).” “Oh, right,” I said, scurrying up the aisle.

I don’t think this was a sin, but I did raise my donations.

Development Opportunities
Million Dollar Consulting® Convention in Sydney

Million Dollar Consulting® Convention in Sydney

You can now view the entire brochure and offerings by clicking on “download brochure” here.

My signature global event for 2020, join speakers from five countries, participants from a dozen (so far), in 2.5 days of learning, networking, and personal growth. Learn how to increase your business while decreasing your labor intensity from people who have successfully done so. And I’m personally hosting the event and delivering the opening keynote.

Creating Dynamic Communities

Building a pipeline for any economic condition: a livestream event

Many people are fearing what they consider an “inevitable” downturn. I’m much more positive than that, but I do believe we ought to be strong and prepared to thrive in any economy. My most successful teleconference ever was about how to thrive in a crisis economy during the recession ten years ago.

Join me for an hour—a very inexpensive hour—that includes a recording and permanent link to learn how to build a pipeline that’s impervious to economic fluctuations. And you can submit questions in advance or during the live broadcast.

Are you listening to Paul Revere or Chicken Little?

Creating Dynamic Communities

Getting started in consulting and reenergizing your consulting practice

We had a room-packed, sold-out session in Boston, and I’m repeating it in Los Angeles because of a ton of requests to do so.

Learn how to get into this wonderful profession without all the mistakes and without leaving money on the table. Learn how to revitalize a current practice by focusing on truly high-margin offerings and getting out of the ruts.

These six hours will change your results immediately, and lunch is on me, despite the ridiculously low fee!

Creating Dynamic Communities

Creating Dynamic Communities

Learn the techniques to create communities of evangelists, whether corporate or consumer. These are people who will enjoy the benefits of becoming peers and colleagues while the credit for the connections accrues to you. THIS is how to “make money while you sleep,” and how to leverage your existing value and offerings.



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LEARN to present sentient strategy

LEARN to present sentient strategy™

I’ve developed a new approach to strategy for small and mid-size businesses which is brief, easy to understand, and novel. I’m teaching this (not licensing it, it’s yours to keep) to anyone interested and qualified. A two-day session is required. The next session is January 28-29 in Boston.

The fee is $15,000. I’m suggesting that the minimum fee for the program for your clients is $50,000. That’s not a bad return on your investment.

Contact me to see if you’re eligible and for further details: [email protected].



I’m offering a new, confidential, counseling service for those who have issues in their personal lives, with relationships, with families, illness, and so forth.

Fearless Leadership  

Fearless Leadership

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Alan Weiss’s Balancing Act® Newsletter is a registered trademark of Alan Weiss and Summit Consulting Group, Inc.
© Alan Weiss 2020

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